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Adjunct: An Undigest by Peter Manson

Adjunct: An Undigest (2005)

by Peter Manson

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652183,505 (3.06)49



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Here are some of my thoughts on Adjunct: an undigest:

It is really easy to disparage Adjunct: an Undigest, by Peter Manson. Based on comments here at LT, I knew that this book was beyond odd before I even found it at the library. The first words confirmed my suspicions that it was pretentious gobbledy-gook. So I set myself the challenge to find something good to say about it.

Immediately I got the sense that Manson was relating his work somehow to the music of John Cage. Also, I saw that he was a poet. Okay, but it was still pretty much gibberish, and I had another 72 pages to go. Could I get through it?

On Manson's website there is a link to a collage picture he made when writing the book. Actual newspaper clippings, glued to a page. All of a sudden, it made sense.
So not every little blurb had a deep meaning. I was free to relax and just let the art wash over me. I could read it quickly, and not worry about understanding every little word. These were just sound bites he overheard or read. Some of them were pretty funny. I found myself getting addicted to the book. I found myself writing my own person Adjunct in my head. I was (gasp) having fun.

If I had read this back when I was 18 (sometime between the demise of the Sex Pistols and the rise of Madonna), I would have thought this was flippin' brilliant. Now, as a grown up, I think it's an interesting experiment that has some highly amusing moments. Do I think it belongs on the 1001 list? Well, especially considering how difficult it is to find a copy, probably not. But I'm glad I read it.

And I was right about the John Cage connection. He references the musician 18 times, and outright says it:". . . says Manson, whose work is strongly influenced by the musical and performance experiments of John Cage." (pg 52). ( )
3 vote Nickelini | Jun 19, 2008 |
Those seeking anything along the lines of plot, structure, meaning, or even sense would probably do well to stop reading this review and look elsewhere because Adjunct will not likely provide you with any of these things.

Those of you who have stuck around will find in this strange text an odd amalgamation of language that hits and misses, often within a few lines of each other, and ultimately feels like a project that exists for the sake of avant-garde rather than to make any kind of profound statement.

The 76 pages are filled with random sentences, poems, obituaries, verbal miscues, and shorthand scrambled by a random number table and still somehow a little comprehensible. It is at its most profound when passages contain example after example of "______ is dead," underscoring the timetable of the project and the frailty of existence. Certain sentences too, particularly those that get conveniently rearranged, are laugh out loud funny.

The problem, however, is that there is too much inconsistency and not enough good, profound material here, so that by the end, "This feels like a sponge" seems not only appropriate but definitive. Adjunct soaks up language at an alarming pace but ultimately overstays its welcome.

I was able to find some redeeming qualities in this radically out-there work, but it's doubtful very many readers will be able to say the same.
2 vote dczapka | Apr 21, 2008 |
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